You have a story. It's written. Now what? You've got to edit it. Editing is where all the magic happens. Where ideas become real, where caricatures become characters and where a story becomes novel. This is a post about how to edit, about the editing process and about the importance of "show don't tell writing."
To begin with, to give a little context, the story, "Shakespeare & Huxley," opens with the introduction of old writers sitting in a bar. Hemingway is trying to write, but John Stewart Mill won’t keep his mouth shut.
This gives the context of the story. Since both Hemingway and Stewart Mill did not live in the same time period, we have set up a scenario that makes the reader ask, “what the heck is going on?”
Ideally, the reader knows that the time is disjointed. If not, you are introduced later to other characters who you know are certainly dead.
Show Don't Tell Writing
You don’t want to tell. Writing is not always about telling. It’s about leaving some mystery. Some unknown. Like how are all these people alive together? As a writer, you want to give the reader the chance to ask questions.
In the beginning of the original story, I told. The image of text below came from my radio play of "Shakespeare & Huxley," that I tried to submit in a competition. I did not show this scenario. Instead, I told it. I began with how the artist was back in the first paragraph. I didn't leave a little mystery. I got straight to the point.
In the novel, it later goes into details, explaining why all these writers and creators and historical figured are back. But in the beginning of the novel, I made sure I left a little mystery.
This is the importance of show don't tell writing. You want to create mystery, suspense, and have the reader keep guessing. If you get the reader to ask questions, they're already invested in the story.
In the radio play, I told, instead of show. The editorial and revision processes is about how better you can say something, tell something without telling; it's about how to show something. So when editing, remember the importance of showing over telling.